Application of Carbon Nanotubes as Growth Regulators/Enhancers of Biomass

PROBLEM

Plant biologists in the pharmaceutical, agro-biotechnology and bioenergy industries are
continually seeking compounds to significantly activate cell division in cultures of valuable
plant cells. Existing compounds such as phytohormones are not always effective in the
industrial scale. More effective methods or compounds are needed to stimulate plant tissue
growth.

Source ACS NANO: (A) Biomass accumulation of culture of tobacco cells grown on regular MS medium, MS medium supplemented with activated carbon, and MS medium supplemented with MWCNTs. (B) Differences in growth of control cells (0) and cells exposed to activated carbon (AC) and MWCNTs in highest tested dose (500 μg/mL). Equal amount of biological material (300 mg) was used for all experimental conditions and all replicates.

SOLUTION

By using nanomaterials such as multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), researchers at UA Little Rock have found a new effective way to increase the yield of plant cell biomass. Researchers have observed that by adding low doses of carbon nanotubes to standard growth medium, it affects the expression of a number of genes that are essential for cellular functions resulting in significantly higher yield of plant cell tissue growth when compared to existing growth regulators or activated carbon. As a result, carbon nanotubes can act as growth regulators/enhancers for plant cells.

ADVANTAGES:

  • Increase in overall production of plant cell biomass
  • Reduction in growth time
  • Low cost of suggested medium supplement

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Related Publications:

a
ACS Nano, 2012, 6 (3), pp 2128–2135 DOI: 10.1021/nn204643g